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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Understanding the Lady in Red

[Next Magazine Issue 751] I apologize if I made any mistakes with the translation. Please do not repost without prior permission.

Note: In this article context, Hung/Red means popularity.

It is about time to pass verdict on [Dance of Passion]. The ratings were unsatisfactory and the ending was not as hotly debated as WAB's ending.

What went wrong? Executive producer Chik Kei Yi, the director and scriptwriter become the target. Even Ada Choi, who gave a vivid performance was not appreciated. After countless publicity and comeback effort has failed, the only person standing secure after the storm was Charmaine Sheh.

This is the advantage of being popular. Charmaine have five TV series per year, which are spread evenly. Therefore, if one failed, it won't affect her greatly.

[All About Women]; TVB recently launched album which includes Charmaine and other popular actresses was sold well in the market.

'Nui Yee Hung' - a name for a famous wine: According to custom, when a daughter was born, the family will ferment some rice wine and only open them when the daughter grows up and get married 18 years later. The fragrant wine, which was served to relatives and friends, were named 'Nui Yee Hung' (Daughter Red).

Participating in 1997 MHK pageant, Charmaine has once said; A women need to have a home to belong to.

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Participating in MHK 1997, the girl holding Charmaine’s arm is Patricia Lau. Today, Charmaine has become successful while Patricia has left TVB seeking greener pastures.

Nine years later, she has become not only TVB 'Dong Ka Fadan', but also the treasured pearl in Lok Yi Ling and Catherine Tsang's palm. The cost of getting promoted: giving up the wish of getting married. "I want to get married, but the man who is worthy enough to make me give up my career has not appeared yet!"

I'm most popular

Charmaine Sheh was placed 2nd runner up in 1997 MHK pageant, along with winner Virginia Yung and 1st runner up Vivian Lee. Back then, Virginia and Vivian fought viciously over Mr. Wu, with the former successfully marrying to the tycoon of Sea Horse Company. The latter (Vivian) disappeared from sight. Among the three winners, only Charmaine Sheh chose to enter entertainment business, and only Charmaine was still standing among her peers.

In this world, there are two kinds of women: One that depends on men, and the kind that depend on themselves.

"My father passed away due to traffic accident when I was five years old. My mother brought up my younger brother and me by herself. When I was still young, I learn from my mother that a woman can be strong, independent and self-sufficient. Since there are options, why not depend on yourself?

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Charmaine inherited her independent traits from her mother. “I'm getting busier with work and rarely see my mother. I hope to plan a vacation together – it has been quite a long time since we spend holiday together.”

I don't want to call myself as popular. However, I am proud to say that I have achievements. My biggest achievement is finding a career which is not only suitable for me, but at the same time interesting and can earn some money.

I already played leading character in my first series, and my next few series was well received. Therefore, a lot of people assume that I have an easy path, but that was not true. When I first entered showbiz, I was also jeered by others, saying that I was terrible. I entered the showbiz via beauty pageant; obviously I have never learned any drama scripts, never joined acting classes before. Yet I have to start on my own, and asking pointers from seniors.

I was sincere, but all I got was criticism; saying that my voice is coy etc. Those days, I felt so lost and started to doubt my decision in entering showbiz. Luckily, I did not give up and here I am today.

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In 2001, not only ROTC ratings broke 45 points, Charmaine's improvement in acting was also recognized. “I regained a little confidence, that I didn’t choose the wrong career path after all!”

I am very fond of my character 'Lai Shun Fung' in [Country Spirit], because she closely resemble me; spirited and fearless!

'Dong Ka Fadan'? It's just a designation given by others. I believe I can still improve my ranking. Even though already 31 years old, at this moment I can tell you that my desire for career was greater than anything else; even my earlier dream to get married."

Not Reliable

In 2000, Charmaine met Benny Chan on the set of [Love is a Butterfly]. Even though they never admitted their relationship, it was sort of an open secret.

When she first entered showbiz, Charmaine said that her ideal age of getting married and having kids was 28 years old. When filming wedding scene, Charmaine will became bothered by superstition, saying that: "Darn, I'm wearing bridal gown again! People said that if you wore them more than 3 times, you won't be able to get married!" She will never hesitate to tell others: "I want to get married!"

However, on her 31st birthday last month, Charmaine is not rushing anymore, because she haven't found someone she could give up her career for.

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Refusing to admit her close relationship with Benny Chan, Charmaine was seen visiting his ancestor's tomb in June 2004.

"Everyone thought that I have a boyfriend, and our relationship is very close. Yes, you may think so. Whether he was a good boyfriend, I don't know yet. I am surrounded by male friends, but I can assure you that the person who will make me give up my career and marry him hasn't appear yet.

When I'm still young, I set myself a time frame because I was afraid of getting married and having children after 30 years old is not good for the baby. When the '30' mark finally approached, I realised that things cannot be rushed. As long as I'm truthful to myself, why not enjoy my career - it is more practical this way.

When you get older, you will know that too much planning is not exactly the best thing to do. The world is too realistic, constantly changing - in the end, you will only be disappointed with your one-sided wish. Why not let go and let nature take its course?

Surely I will have yearnings for love and marriage. I hope that when I return home, I won't be facing just four corners of walls. I hope to find someone to share a simple, comfortable, intimate and unrestricted relationship with. What if my other half earn less than I do? I do not mind that! I just want someone I could love forever; when I'm very old my husband will still hold my hands to walk in the park. Happiness is that simple."

The Gossip Circle

There's an old notion that if you're popular, there's bound to be rumours. Charmaine is not exceptional.

From Joyce Tang, Maggie Cheung, Shirley Yeung, Sheren Tang till Gigi Lai; the rumours never stopped for Charmaine. Stories of fighting over roles, songs, awards and even for the favors of TVB executive Lok Yi Ling and Catherine Tsang – Charmaine always had her share in the those stories. The special ability of being popular include having ‘steel’ body (tough), you can say whatever you want, but I can choose to turn a deaf ear too.

"Gossip circle? I will say this is entertainment business. No matter Big Brother, or Big Sister, I'm surrounded by those who are fun and gregarious. They knew best how to amuse themselves and others. Gossips? Everyone is the same as I am; we don't really care!

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Working in entertainment business for over 9 years, she has a lot of 'rivals', and only one true friend: Sonija Kwok. “We have similar personalities; straightforward and we kept secret well. No matter how busy we are, we will make time to chat!”

Even though you never harmed anyone, but once the article went out, it's quite startling to run into colleagues. From originally nothing (happened), something will bound to happen. Time has taught me that as long as I didn't do anything wrong or intentionally hurt anyone; that is enough. Flattering the executives? I dare to tell you that it was because we don’t need to use tricks to promote ourselves in TVB, which is why I kept staying here for so many years. Believe or not? Up to yourself!

The price of popularity – this I knew too clearly. Therefore I really enjoyed my life off the camera. I’m willing to spend money buying car, because I feel that the space inside the car truly belongs to me alone, which is real freedom. Tabloids said I like to go out, but I'm not that playful. I just don’t want to let go any time together with my friends.

With my every move and actions monitored by the media, any small incidents usually get blown out of proportions. Of course, I feel troubled. But I really enjoyed working in entertainment business.

Mag scans credit to Maggie &

However, I do have limits. You can write all you want, but please leave my family alone."

Woman waiting for love

With her fragile appearance and nickname “Dey Jing”, the actual Charmaine Sheh was not coy at all. While posing for this photo shoot, she has her own style and will not compromise if she’s not comfortable with the pose.

During childhood, she said that she never played Barbie, but love playing with models and robots. Among friends, she is always the 'big sister': she picks up the bill at meals, when her friends are in financial emergency she will not hesitate to help. In front of others, she is always a strong woman.

When she alone, Charmaine says: “Filming is really exhausting, we often finish work at 5.00am, and having another schedule at 6.00am. In an hour, you have to rush home to shower, change clothes – if I have several minutes to spare I will phone my mother. It's nothing special, just that when I'm feeling weary, I need someone to listen to me, instead of facing the four corners of my home.”

No matter how popular, how strong you are, there will be time when you feel tired. No matter how stubborn you might be, you will wish to have someone by your side.

Sehseh: There's a saying that people are constantly changing. I'm happy that Charmaine is pursuing her career, that does not mean she's giving up on love and marriage, it's just that her priorities changed. From the past articles, I feel that she has some painful lessons in relationships and this could be the reason why she learn to be careful of her feelings, especially in love. I hope Charmaine will be more successful in her work, and perhaps along the way she will find the reliable man she need :)

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